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Russian Navy Faces Surface Modernization Delays Without Ukrainian Engines, Officials Pledge to Sue

Gorshkov frigate Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Gorshkov at Northern Shipyard. Photo via 7 Feet Beneath the Keel

Gorshkov frigate Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Gorshkov at Northern Shipyard. Photo via 7 Feet Beneath the Keel

The modernization of Russia’s surface fleet — already behind schedule — could face additional delays due to Ukraine’s decision to stop selling the Russian Navy gas turbine engines crucial to two new ship classes.

Russian shipbuilder United Shipbuilding Corporation issued a statement on Monday saying due to the Ukrainian arms embargo, Russia will employ jet engine manufacturer Saturn to build the gas turbines for Admiral Grigorovich-class (Project 11356) and Admiral Gorshkov-class guided missile frigates (Project 22350) frigates currently under construction.

In addition to procuring a domestic gas turbine for the two classes, USC has pledged to sue the Ukrainian government to get the engines the company said it has already paid for.

The original gas turbines were produced by Ukrainian state-owned of Zorya-Mashproekt. Originally established in World War II, the company was a center of Soviet maritime gas turbine design and production. Following the Cold War the company continued to supply the engines for the Russian surface fleet and export ships until the Russian seizure of the Ukrainian region of Crimea and the subsequent arms embargo.

The first three 3,850-ton Grigorovich frigates and the first two 4,550-ton Gorshkovs are already equipped with Ukrainian gas turbines, according to USC. Russia has said it plans to build at least eight of the larger Gorshkovs and the Russians have ordered six of the smaller Grigorovich ships.

According to USC, the new engines are slated to come online in 2017 or 2018 and the frigates with the new engines will transfer to the Russian Navy around 2020.

However, the Russian defense industry has been preformed poorly meeting deadlines in the last several years and the timelines set out by USC will be likely be difficult to meet, Eric Wertheim author of U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets of the World told USNI News on Tuesday.

“I don’t think anything about the Russian defense industry has been timely, he said.
“That’s the reason they looked to France for amphibious assault ships and why the aircraft carrier they made for India was so late.”

While Russia is second only to the U.S. in submarine manufacturing, its surface ship construction has suffered since the end of the Cold War.

While Saturn is known for producing quality jet engines it’s unclear how successful they’ll be in developing domestic gas turbines.

“It’s a very complex thing they’re trying to replicate. It’s going to have a significant impact on their surface navy modernization. They’re probably going to use it as an excuse down the line.” Wertheim said.
“They might have better luck going to court.”

The admission from USC is the latest in a series setbacks for the Russian surface enterprise. Last year a deal for two French Mistral-class amphibious warships went sour when the French government blocked the transfer of the two ships to the Russian Navy due to ongoing allegations the Russians were providing material support to separatist forces along its border with Ukraine.

  • PolicyWonk

    Following the Cold War the company continued to supply the engines for the Russian surface fleet and export ships until the Russian seizure of the Ukrainian region of Crimea and the subsequent arms embargo.

    =============================
    And this surprises the Russians how, exactly?

    • The Dark Knight

      I think Putin forgot how much of their military industrial base was actually based in the Ukraine

      • James Bowen

        On the contrary, I think he is very well aware of it. That’s why he is so intent on preventing Ukraine from aligning with NATO and the EU.

        • The Dark Knight

          yeah smart move attacking them then…..that’s really going to keep them in the fold and on his side……………..

          • James Bowen

            Putin (and just about everyone else in Russia for that matter) really wanted the Ukraine to join their Eurasian trade block. The previous president had agreed to, but he was driven from power by an angry mob which many Russians believe was instigated by the Western powers. That president was replaced by anti-Russian factions that seek to align with the EU and NATO. When that happened, Putin decided to do what it took to prevent that. Putin is very determined not to let Ukraine align with NATO, and if it came to it would probably resort to dismembering Ukraine, though I think he would rather it not go that far.

            It should be noted that about half the people in Ukraine do want to align with Russia. However, they were driven from power and many no longer regard the Ukrainian government as legitimate. The more radical ones in and around Donetsk actually want to secceed. Ukraine is a deeply divided and polarized nation and there is at present very little room for compromise. The anti-Russian side now firmly controls the government, but the pro-Russian side has a virtually inexhaustible supply of Russian weapons and resources available to them.

          • Frank Langham

            The spoils of the Crimean annexation are strategic, warm-water ports as well as a land-based medium launch footprint that covers most of the black sea and coastal nations. … The spoils of Eastern Ukraine include a land-bridge to Crimean ports and basing, as well as a buffer for that land-route. … Although Russia cannot expect anything in terms of military “products” from Ukraine, she is most certainly engaging in her own version of Project Paperclip, in order to EXTRACT (to The Motherland) any engineering and technical talent, technical documents, plans, and special tooling that might help her to re-establish some semblance of Ukrainian “legacy production”, at least from the Eastern territory. … Take a good, hard look at the Black Sea Region Map (including all coastal nations) and try to “sit in Moscow” and to “think like a Russian strategic analyst”.

  • Curtis Conway

    When one performs the most cursory study of Ukraine, one is left to wonder why we have left these folks to their own fate. Ukraine is a powerhouse in the manufacture of turbine engines (Motor Sich-aircraft turbine engines, and Zorya-Mashproekt – shipboard turbine engines). The have a mature electronics industry, and development of oil and Gas resources has begun. The United States should be head and shoulders behind Ukraine just like we are in the Czechs Republic. Ukraine will make a strong Allie and friend on the Black Sea. Annual exercises with their Army, Navy and Air Force would bolster security of the region. Some of our equipment coming out of depot maintenance, but listed for replacement with newer equipment, should go to Ukraine. This is a huge opportunity to ensure another Democratic Republic and support the Ukrainians in their time of need. This opportunity makes so much sense, I wonder why no one else is proposing this path of development and diplomacy.

    • Ctrot

      Because Obama.

    • redgriffin

      Actually it is Europe that should be doing this the US has no real stake in that you should be looking to the Visegrad Group or Germany for the real stake.

      • Ctrot

        The United States is a world power with a global economy, we have a stake everywhere. Like it or not, that’s just how it is. Isolationism is not the answer to any of our problems.

        • Rob C.

          Neither is allowing big nations invading potential allies either.
          It’s sanctions or war. US Can’t do the war part very effectively when it’s distracted by other issues. Economics effective when everyone onboard.

        • redgriffin

          It doesn’t mean that we have to be involved if everything I mean even Great Britain took a day off when their Empire was around.

        • James Bowen

          Except that we are not as powerful as many of us like to think we are. The very fact that we are dependent on a global economy has put others ahead of us in industrial output and therefore military potential. China produces five times as much steel as we do, a figure which is similar to the Union over the Confederacy or the U.S. over the Axis Powers. Our actions in Ukraine are driving Russia towards a pact with China. That puts us in a very bad position if that happens.

          We need to rebuild our industrial capacity and thereby our warmaking potential. We also need to be far more sparing and smart about which fights we choose to fight.

      • Curtis Conway

        Anytime I see a comment like “The US has no stake in …” this or that, I automatically see a lack of understanding of the existence of COCOM, the International Economy (upon which our economy depends) and its dependence on free trade, and a little bit of a peak at the humanity (or personality) in any individual. To whom much is given, much is expected.

        • redgriffin

          Actually it is Europe that has more of and interest in this NATO has no real reason to be involved I would see what the Visegrad Group has a more vested inters in it resolution.

      • Secundius

        @ Redgriffin.

        The Only Team Player, appears to be Poland. Everyone else is Sitting In the Dugout, with a Wait And See Attitude…

        • redgriffin

          Oh for the love of God would someone look up the Visegrad Group and don’t use Wikipedia.

          • Secundius

            @ redgriffin.

            Actually Sir, up until this website. I’ve never even heard about the Visegrad Group. On the Jane’s 360 Defense website, we’ve talking about this same subject for month’s…

          • redgriffin

            Then how does one even start to complain about US foreign policy when they don’t have full information. That’s the way an idiot plans things and until now no one here has struck as being one.

          • Secundius

            @ redgriffin.

            Personally I think Germany is a Non-Entity, after the Horrific Losses for the Size of their Forces. In Afghanistan in a Quite Sector of the Country, shocked them into a Silent Partner Role and France, Forget-It…

          • redgriffin

            Secundius that is a foolish conclusion to draw in Central Europe Germany Poland and the Czech republic are the strongest nations and the reason that Russia is at this time trying to back out of Ukraine. That is also why Merkel is the only other leader that Putin tries to put off balance during negotiations. Would you for gods sake put away your ancient jingoist ways and look at the world in a new light.

          • Secundius

            @ redgriffin.

            Only Time Will Tell, Sir and what Putin does next in his Ever Growing STUPIDITY Catalog…

          • redgriffin

            Or Putin may do the smart thing and disengage right?

          • Secundius

            @ redgriffin.

            I wouldn’t even give Markov Chain odds on that one…

          • redgriffin

            Once again we have people who are going off like Frank Burns half cocked. You really haven’t read any open intel. on anything have you.

          • Secundius

            @ redgriffin.

            Several month’s ago, the Russian Ambassador threaten the Danes, through Putin’s Office with Nuclear Annihilation if they went with Ballistic Missile Defense System. Putin’s desperate, His Baltic Fleet is in Ruin’s because of Bad Maintenance. He need’s a New One and Crimea was a desperate act to get the Ukraine’s Nearly Modern Shipyards and Marine Gas Turbine Manufacturing Facilities. Right Now he’s negotiating with the ChiCom’s to get the Part’s, Engines, and Equipment he need’s to Complete the Job. But at a price, that welcomes the ChiCom’s as Equal Partners. Putin will Annihilate the Ukraine’s, if he get’s what he wants. Western Europe is Straddling the Fence with a Wait and See Attitude. And Germany is Caught In the Middle, and were Stretched Thin with our World Wide Interests. What’s Your Take, Any Better or WORSE…

          • redgriffin

            Yeah the Russians are even threatening us but you fail to see what can happen with the existence of 2 military alliances right near Russia formed by 6 traditional opponents of Russia and Visegrad is already in talks with Ukraine to join the alliance oh and did I also mention that they are a economic alliance also.

          • Secundius

            @ redgriffin.

            If somebody was threatening me and I had my back up against the wall, and the only way out was to Ally myself to my Neighbor to even the odds. Of diverting or even avoiding disaster, I’d do it in a New York Minute…

          • redgriffin

            SO tell me how is Denmark’s Back to the wall? or even NATO’s. The US will put it heavy weapons in the Baltic and NATO Sweden and Finnish Aircraft will fly up and down the coast at will and their navies will track Russian Subs at will the question is what can Russian Forces do to stop that ? Nothing that’s what Russia was about to modernize when the Crimean crisis began and now Russia is spent they can’t do anything.

          • Secundius

            @ redgriffin.

            I would think that would Obvious even to You, Sir. If the Russian Federation Ambassador hand a letter to the Foreign Minister of Denmark. Saying were going to Destroy your Country with a Nuclear Device, if you participate in a Joint Venture to Create a Missile Defense System. What are you going to do SIR, Cower In Fear. To Placate somebody else’s Wishes…

          • redgriffin

            There are allot of tress killed SIR in the name of Diplomacy maot of them die for naught.

          • Secundius

            @ redgriffin.

            Why don’t you let the Danes decide for themselves, Sir. It’s their Country and their Voice. Not Your’s, Mine, or Putin’s…

          • redgriffin

            Okay and what are the Dane’s saying and are they talking to Sweden, Finland and Norway or NATO?

          • Secundius

            @ redgriffin.

            The Swedes & Finns, have both agree’d to Fight with NATO. If Putin, does something REALLY, REALLY STUPID. The Danes and Norwegians are both NATO Member Countries…

          • redgriffin

            Well are you assuming Putin is stupid or crazy? Because I’m not he is a bully but then so was Stalin and we handled him very well by doing the right thing.

          • Secundius

            @ redgriffin.

            Just EXACTLY, What Intelligent thing has he done within the last 12-months…

          • redgriffin

            He has manged to hold off the world and stay in power.
            I have reached ti conclusion that you are a half empty guy while I m a half full so I think we should just agree to disagree and go one to our next brouhaha. TTFN.

    • RobM1981

      I hear what you are saying, but we have to be really careful with this “head and shoulders” thinking.

      Ukraine is, historically, Russian. They speak Russian. The word “Ukraine” literally translates (Loosely) to “buffer zone.”

      Russia has always viewed Ukraine basically as that. Ukraine is their bulwark against “western aggression.” Obviously this has never translated into good things for Ukranians. They have been pogrom’d and attacked and even genocide’d by their Russian masters, for centuries.

      The only reason that there are so many “ethnic Russians” in Ukraine – and they represent about 50% of the population, last I checked (I’m too lazy to google, so forgive me if I’m off) is that they migrated into Ukraine after Stalin’s vicious attacks (followed by Hitler’s) left all of that land basically unoccupied.

      So, yes, Ukraine has suffered enormously under the yoke of Russia, and I have to think that the ethnic Ukrainians would like nothing more than to lose their links to Russia.

      Which doesn’t change the fact that Russia views them as an appendage. And I daresay that Russia would view any serious US intervention in Ukraine as a deeply belligerent act.

      Everything you write about their economy is accurate. Ukraine is loaded with resources and skilled workers, and it could very much become another Germany – if it was located in Germany. But their physical location makes this very ticklish, indeed.

      • Curtis Conway

        My analysis is based upon the fact the most of the Russians in Ukraine, DON’T want to live in Russia proper, and understand very well what that means when they experience their freedoms in Ukraine. Ukraine has been the Bread basket of Mother Russia from time immemorial. When the US, UK and Russia signed the agreement to keep them safe after Ukraine divested themselves of their nuclear weapons arsenal, there was a responsibility that went with that. Russia has shown their colors. Perhaps its time for us to show ours, and let G-d be the judge?

        • Frank Langham

          Meh … I dunno, Curtis. … We probably ought not to underestimate Russia’s sense of “ownership” *or* her sense of alarm. … If the tables were turned, and Texas was at stake, there might be no possible rationale for allowing it to slip into the hands of a traditional foe (and a competing super-power). … ALL LEGALITIES ASIDE. … Add the fact that Russia has VERY few contiguous warm-water ports and that those few *strategic* ports SHARE common water with Crimea and Ukraine and, well, “WE” are not going to allow our Black Sea Fleet to be Bottled Up, especially when our foothold, in Syria, is slipping fast. … LAW ?? … SANCTIONS ?? … Screw THAT !!

          • Curtis Conway

            “REMEMBER CRIMEA!” They don’t have an Alamo, or Putin is Mexican generalissimo Antonio Lopez Santa Anna? We are just going to abandon the battle against Tyranny? This nation has come a long way! More heads are rolling South of our border, and in the Middle East than any time in recent HiStory, and we sit by and watch, instead of meeting the threat with persistence and determination? What does that make us? I don’t think G-d is proud!

          • Frank Langham

            Well, we went into Vietnam *knowing* that we could not and that we would not “win” … We were way too far from our power and supplies base (home) and our enemies could WALK it all in from next door. … THAT was when we were rich and strong. … We only went into Vietnam to excise a price for Communism’s kicking “The West” out of that neighborhood. … It will always be cheaper and easier to de-stabilize a country than it is to build one up. And, as far as Mexico goes ? … We have been fighting OURSELVES in Mexico and, perhaps, The Pontiff.
            … I think that we have a REAL chance to get some traction, in the Pac Rim, because we have so many motivated allies and because several of them are solvent and capable. … If Europe had HALF that much fervor and resolve, we would not be dragging them along. … Sure … The EU is “cooperating and coordinating” but they are not *leading* worth a toot (IMO). … Mexico? … All we need to do is convince the POPE and the CIA that it is time to stabilize and build Mexico up into a real player. … Heck, Mexico has a stronger and BETTER “legitimate” economy than Russia, by a wide margin and, if “we” were to remove their cobbles and give them a real boost, we would be going down THERE to find GOOD jobs and we would be begging THEM to open the border to US. … Finally … Mexico presents closer markets than China does and Mexico does have many “wealthy” customers that we understand. … If we could simply cease fomenting instability, in Mexico, and approach HER commercial markets with as much aplomb as we do Asian markets, then, we (and Mexico) could be having a SWEET honeymoon that could last 100 years or more.

      • Frank Langham

        Yeah … I am pretty sure that most Russians think of Ukraine VERY much the same as most Americans think of Texas. … A military producer and a border “state”, with important sea-ports.

    • Frank Langham

      Hey, Curtis. … Agree … See my reply to James Bowen, just above.

    • wmac

      So you wonder why aren’t they interested in competitors for GE, Rolls Royce etc?

  • sferrin

    Hilarious.

  • 2IDSGT

    Um… I’m pretty sure that Russia and Ukraine are way beyond lawsuits now.

  • Secundius

    It appears that Putin and the RuNavy is looking at the PRC to supply the Engines. In return the PRC has direct access to Putin’s Cookie Jar of Goodies…

    • Frank Langham

      The PRC is TOTALLY dependent on Russia for Flanker Propulsion.

      • Secundius

        @ Frank Landham.

        If you have the Recipes to produce you own Cookies, WHY go back to the Original Baker for More…

        • Frank Langham

          You are just plain wrong about that, Seckie. … While I am certain that China has STOLEN the complete “recipe” and that they have several batches of cookies, on hand, to analyze, the true fact is that they cannot bake macaroons for scat. … China has not achieved the tooling and the experience and the “cultural expertise” to make reliable, higher-performance jet engines. … They just plain suck at it. … Check your facts and I think you will discover that they will not be making a cost efficient air-superiority plant for at least another decade. … They would not have even achieved low orbit if we had not GIVEN them the turbulence formulas that daunted them for decades.
          … By the way … I am asking because I am really not sure … WHERE does China get all of their commercial air-liners ? … and, WHY ?

          • Secundius

            @ Frank Langham.

            Only time will tell, If the PRC start’s by Buying Less and Putin by Buying More. Than you’ll have your answer…

          • Frank Langham

            Air transportation for the President, Premier or government officials of China is managed and operated by the 34th division of People’s Liberation Army Air Force. Eight Boeing 737-300s and two 737-700s are used for these missions.

            A Boeing 767-300ER was purchased by the Chinese government for use by President Jiang Zemin in 2000. This Boeing 767 was originally ordered by Delta Air Lines. An international incident occurred in 2001 when the government claimed it had discovered 27 bugs embedded in the aircraft’s interior; the plane had been refitted in San Antonio, Texas. It had since been converted back to a normal passenger airliner and transferred to Air China as B-2499.

            A Commercial Air China Boeing 747-4J6 is converted for international travel when necessary. The plane is registered as B-2472. It is specially configured and does not operate any commercial service.[11]

            The PLAAF 34th division was formed in 1959. Types of aircraft formerly used for VIP air transportation including Vickers Viscount, Ilyushin Il-18 and Hawker Siddeley Trident. The plane which crashed in Mongolia in 1971, carrying defecting marshal Lin Biao, was a Trident registered as CAAC B-256, piloted by Pan Jingyin (潘景寅), deputy commander of the 34th division.

          • Secundius

            @ Frank Langham.

            By a Strange Fate of Luck, the ChiCom are also getting Ukrainian built Antonov An-148’s and An-158 Twin Turbojet Transports too…

          • Frank Langham

            Serial manufacturing of the WS-10 and integration with the J-11, proved to be more difficult than expected. As a result, even though several related prototypes had been tested and at least one regiment converted to the Taihang powered J-11B version in 2007, these aircraft were later grounded for an extended period due to a poor operational reliability. A report in the Washington Times suggested that the Chinese engines lasted 30 hours before they needed servicing, compared to 400 hours for the Russian versions.[16] Defects were traced back to the engine manufacturer, Shenyang Liming Aircraft Engine Company employing sub-standard manufacturing and quality control procedures. Several subsequent batches temporarily reverted to the original, Russian AL-31F turbofans. The engines manufacturing problems had finally been solved by the end of 2009 and the WS-10A had reportedly proved mature enough to power the Block 02 aircraft.[9]

  • Secundius

    I’m Kind of Curious, on how Putin’s is buying 20 Project 11711 Ivan Gren class 5,000-tonnes Large Landing Ship’s at only $365,240.00 USD. apiece…

    • Frank Langham

      Large landing ships would be a total waste of monies, anyway. … I cannot even imagine Russia pulling off a SEA based invasion with any hope of success … Not far from home, anyway. … While Russian Marines and their toys are notably capable, Russian Sea Lift, supply and replenishment logistics are sadly lacking (AFAIK). … Such assets might only serve to execute a regional flanking maneuver, or a forced retreat, at best.

      • Secundius

        @ Frank Langham.

        When Putin’s Forces, INVADED the Ukraine. That was a Stupid and Foolish Act, what have you seen him do lately. That changed you mind, that he won’t do it Again…

        • Frank Langham

          All I am saying is that a Rusky amphib operation would be dubious, at best. … ROLLING through Ukraine and onto the Crimean peninsula was Russia’s strongest suit and was on their doorstep. … Piling onto large amphibious transports and attempting to lumber ashore might work for them, if the supply chain and the air-cap are close to home. … I mean … I can see Russia TRYING to invade Syria and being able to establish a beach-head but they could not sustain any significant resistance nor could they make any headway into Israel (just as an example) … They would have to exit the black sea, before they could go anywhere else, for one thing, or else travel from some northern port … They are not going to surprise anyone and their SeaLift will not take them (sustainably) very far from home. … They COULD make a short trip and do some quick whoop-ass to attack specific strategic targets, though. … If I was Russia, I would not put bunches of money into amphibious landing platforms, is all I am saying. … There are better things to focus on.

        • Frank Langham

          On the other hand … Landings in Scandinavia or even an attempt to scuttle strategic assets in Alaska might be doable, with proper planning. … Especially in Winter, where they shine.

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